Monday, April 27, 2009

The Heritage Of Nalanda

Nalanda is the name of an ancient university in Bihar, India. Nalanda district is popularly known as Biharsharif. The rivers Phalgu, and Mohane flows through the district of Nalanda.It was a Buddhist center of learning under the Pala Empire. It was founded in the 5th Century A.D. Nalanda is known as the ancient seat of learning. Around 2,000 Teachers and 10,000 Students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied at Nalanda, the first Residential International University of the World. The university was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was marked by a lofty wall and one gate. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms. The university had centres for studies in Buddhism, Vedas, Logic, Grammar, Medicine, Meta-Physics, Prose Composition and Rhetoric. The university was involved mainly in research and deep study of intrinsic truth. Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira have also taught here. The university library had a mammoth collection of 9 million volumes. Hsuan Tsang, the renowned Chinese traveler was also involved with the university foe 12 years. There is a monument built here in his memory. On the grounds were lakes and parks.
Major Tourist Attractions in Nalanda:
Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex : Total excavated area of the complex is about 14 hectares. The university was built in Kushana style of architecture. The monasteries or viharas are to the east and the temple or chaityas to the west of the central alley. There are huge gardens, bronze statues and red-brick edifices all around.
Nalanda Archaeological Museum : The museum is small yet has a valuable collection of Buddhist and Hindu bronzes and a number of intact statues of the Lord Buddha found in the area. The museum has rare manuscripts, copper plates, stone inscriptions, coins, pottery etc.
Nava Nalanda Mahavihara : This new international study centre for Buddhism and Pali literature was set up in 1951. It offers research works on the ancient Pali language and Budhism.
Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall : The memorial hall was bulit in the memory of Hieun Tsang,who was a famous Chinese traveler.

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